It was standing room only at our Voices of Freedom debate last night with around 60 people squeezed into the IEA conference room. Hosted by The Free Society and Big Brother Watch, the subject was "Big Government is Watching You: the surveillance state and individual freedom".
Speakers included Phil Booth, national coordinator of NO2ID; Alex Deane, director of Big Brother Watch; and journalist Ross Clark, author of The Road to Southend Pier. (Ross used to write a regular column in The Spectator called 'Banned Wagon'. I reminded him that the last time we met, at a Spectator Summer Party, he invited me to play for his village cricket team!)
Best of all, perhaps, because it meant we had a proper debate, was Philip Davies MP who stirred things up with a passionate defence of surveillance cameras and other tools of what some might call the Big Brother state.
Indeed, things got a bit fiery as Alex Deane, in particular, responded like the former World Debating Champion he is.
Chairing the debate, blogger Iain Dale (above) still found time to post these tweets:
As Iain mentions in his tweet, Lembit Opik was in the audience and afterwards I booked him (provisionally) to perform his new stand-up comedy routine at the Smoke On The Water boat party on July 14. Now if that doesn't encourage you to book your ticket, nothing will!!
Next Voices of Freedom debate is on Tuesday June 15 - "Is a Big Society a Free Society?"
PS. I got home at 12.30. It's now 7.00am and I am about to drive to Bristol. Things could be a little quiet around here today ...
Another speaker, Simon Davies of Privacy International, was unable to take part because he was unavoidably detained in a meeting concerning PI and Google. Full story HERE. I'll keep you posted.